How Does Software Development Fit in with ITIL's Configuration Management Database?


The problem with this traditional model is that it doesn’t necessarily fit in very well with what the rest of the organization is doing, particularly if you are developing applications which are part of the ongoing estate of your organization.

In many traditional development shops, the most important stuff is considered to happen during development. At some point the application is signed off or accepted, it is thrown over the wall into production and the development team sails off into the sunset, with the satisfaction of another job well done!

Figure 3 – Application development is only part of the application/service lifecycle.

Typically applications spend perhaps only 20-30% of their overall life in development. The majority of the life cycle is spent in production with regular changes being made to that application.

Smaller changes or bug fixes might follow a rather different life cycle than a full blown change. Larger changes may merit a new project to be setup which goes through the lifecycle again, but this time starting with an already existing application.

Applications are often modified for a new project in parallel to small bug fixes and enhancements being made and released. You need to ensure that a major new release of an application also includes all the little bug fixes that were made to the previous version and are already in production.

With the end to end service focus of ITIL V3, the importance of applications to the user experience and importance of usability across a set of applications that make up an end to end service has also increased.

So if your organization is implementing an ITIL V3 CMS (or has a V2 federated CMDB), then your ALM will be exchanging information via: problems, known errors, changes and releases.

About the author

Brad Appleton's picture Brad Appleton

Brad Appleton is a software CM/ALM solution architect and lean/agile development champion at a large telecommunications company. Currently he helps projects and teams adopt and apply lean/agile development and CM/ALM practices and tools. He is coauthor of the book Software Configuration Management Patterns, a columnist for the CMCrossroads and AgileConnection communities at,  and a former section editor for The C++ Report. You can read Brad's blog at

About the author

Steve Berczuk's picture Steve Berczuk

Steve Berczuk is a Principal Engineer and Scrum Master at Fitbit. The author of Software Configuration Management Patterns: Effective Teamwork, Practical Integration, he is a recognized expert in software configuration management and agile software development. Steve is passionate about helping teams work effectively to produce quality software. He has an M.S. in operations research from Stanford University and an S.B. in Electrical Engineering from MIT, and is a certified, practicing ScrumMaster. Contact Steve at or visit and follow his blog at

About the author

Robert Cowham's picture Robert Cowham

Robert Cowham has long been interested in software configuration management while retaining the attitude of a generalist with experience and skills in many aspects of software development. A regular presenter at conferences, he authored the Agile SCM column within the CM Journal together with Brad Appleton and Steve Berczuk. His day job is as Services Director for Square Mile Systems whose main focus is on skills and techniques for infrastructure configuration management and DCIM (Data Center Infrastructure Management) - applying configuration management principles to hardware documentation and implementation as well as mapping ITIL services to the underlying layers.

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